What you need to do before inviting a visitor to the University
Understand what you need to do before inviting a visitor to the University and what types of activity can do.
Visa nationals must hold an appropriate visa / UK entry clearance that enables them to fulfil the specific purpose of their visit.
If you are a member of staff, you should not issue any form of communication inviting someone to visit from outside the UK, as this may result in the individual being issued the wrong visa.
If you would like to invite a PhD student to visit, please contact your relevant graduate school, who can advise you further. For all other types of visitor, please see below for further guidance.
What you need to do to invite a visitor
If you are proposing to host a visitor and have been granted the appropriate permissions from within the department/Faculty:
- Use the GOV.UK online tool to determine whether your proposed visitor requires a visa.
If the individual does require a visa or if you are unsure, email HR Visas with the details of the visit and visitor, including; - email address - postal address - organisation name - purpose of the visit - dates and duration of the visit.
HR will issue an invitation letter for the individual to use as part of their visa application.
On the first day of the visit, the visa/entry clearance must be verified by HR.
Remember to bring the visitor and their original documents to the HR Reception in Wessex House 3.22.
The onus is on the visitor to demonstrate on arrival to the University, that they have the appropriate visa/ UK entry clearance for their visit. If the visa / UK entry clearance cannot be adequately verified, the visit will have to be curtailed immediately.
The types of acitvity your visitor can do whilst they're here
There are complexities in determining which visitor visa might be appropriate, but typically, the most relevant sub-types of “non-student” visitor visa are likely to be:
Permitted Paid Engagement
These sub-types are now within the over-arching Standard Visitor visa. The UKVI website has useful information and guidance on the visitor routes and associated rules, a summary of which can be found below:
A visitor may:
(a) attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews;
(b) give a one-off or short series of talks and speeches provided these are not organised as commercial events and will not make a profit for the organiser;
(c) negotiate and sign deals and contracts;
(d) attend trade fairs, for promotional work only, provided the visitor is not directly selling;
(e) carry out site visits and inspections;
(f) gather information for their employment overseas;
(g) be briefed on the requirements of a UK based customer, provided any work for the customer is done outside of the UK.
Scientists and researchers may:
(a) gather information and facts for a specific project which directly relates to their employment overseas;
(b) share knowledge or advise on an international project that is being led from the UK, provided the visitor is not carrying our research in the UK.
(a) take part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts (including doctors);
(b) carry out research for their own purposes if they are on sabbatical leave from their home institution;
(c) if they are an eminent senior doctor or dentist, take part in research, teaching or clinical practice provided this does not amount to filling a permanent teaching post.
An academic applying for a 12 month visit visa (standard) must:
(a) be highly qualified within their own field of expertise; and
(b) currently working in that field at an academic institution or institution of higher education overseas
The following includes examples of those who are unlikely to qualify for Business or Academic Visitor visas:
researchers coming to work on University-hosted formal research projects (a Tier 5 temporary worker visa will be required);
someone coming to give a paid lecture (a Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa will be required. A Tier 5 temporary worker visa may be appropriate if the migrant is not filling an advertised vacancy and the lecturer is additional to normal staffing requirements);
someone coming to give a series of lectures (whether paid or unpaid) (a Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa will be required. A Tier 5 temporary worker visa may be appropriate if the migrant is not filling an advertised vacancy and the lecturer is additional to normal staffing requirements);
students coming on internships specifically to undertake research
students coming on non-research internships or work placements
Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) Visitor
The following are permitted paid engagements:
(a) an academic who is highly qualified within his or her field of expertise may examine students and/or participate in or chair selection panels, if they have been invited by a UK Higher Education Institution or a UK based research or arts organisation as part of that institution or organisation's quality assurance processes.
(b) An expert may give lectures in their subject area, if they have been invited by a UK Higher Education Institution; or a UK based research or arts organisation provided this does not amount to filling a teaching position for the host organisation.